Historic Hood River
Happy Birthday, Hood River
The folks at City Hall alerted me to a special birthday. 125 years ago tomorrow the City of Hood River’s articles of incorporation were filed with the Oregon Secretary of State. The residents of the town started the process the previous December when they voted (47 in favor, 35 opposed) to petition the Wasco County Court to incorporate. At the same election they selected a mayor, six aldermen, a recorder, a marshal, and a treasurer.
On Monday, February 18, 1895 the Hood River City Council held its first official meeting, at which they adopted four ordinances organizing the city government. And of course it wouldn’t have been a city council meeting without a request for money: Captain Dukes told the council that if they would pitch in $30 towards the new bell for the Congregational Church, they could purchase a heavier bell which could also serve as the new city’s fire bell. No action was taken on the request.
The following month they got down to business enacting laws. The first issue they tackled was creating a requirement that persons with contagious diseases stay in their homes, marking them with flags visible from the street. A green flag indicated diphtheria, yellow indicated small-pox, and red indicated all other contagions. They also prohibited sale of putrid or tainted meat, fish and vegetables, and prohibited leaving decaying animal carcasses in such a condition as to cause or create noisome or offensive odors. They prohibited leaving trash or refuse for more than 12 hours, and required residents to control the odors from their privies. They prohibited discharging firearms (except out of necessity) as well as fireworks, concealed weapons (without a permit from the mayor or marshal) and my favorite, they banned throwing of snow-balls, pebbles, or missiles of any kind at anyone attending to their usual business.
They established a speed limit of eight miles an hour for horses (did horses have speedometers?) and limited speeds at bridges to a walk. They authorized “no hitching” zones for horses (at the discretion of the abutting property owner) and created a curfew of 9 o-clock for unaccompanied persons under the age of 16.
They also prohibited sale or dispensing of liquors or other intoxicants (as well as opium), and prohibited brothels and prostitution. Begging, yelling, whooping or singing in a boisterous or rude manner were also prohibited on the streets of the new city.
I’m not sure how the general populous responded to all these new restrictions, but by the time the next city map was printed in 1902 there were three saloons and a “wine room.”
Tags: 1890s, anniversary, birthday, City of Hood River, document
That vote was about 60 – 40 %. Wonder what the objections to incorporation were. Any court, legal, and property events would have required a trip – by horse
to The Dalles.
I read a letter in the Glacier objecting to incorporation because the writer didn't want to be, “subject to the whims and malice of a board of aldermen and other officers intent only on lining their own pockets.” The writer talked about the history of Boss Tweed and corruption in New York.
I suspect there was also a strong undercurrent of a fight for and against the forces wanting to impose moral values on the community at large. Prohibition is a good example of this. I'm still researching this aspect of the election.
In my readings, alcoholism was a terrible problem with men drinking and gambling away their whole paycheck and leaving their families in terrible straits. Which led to the very strong WCTU (Womens Christian Temperance Union), and jails filled with the outcome of public drunkenness and brawls, and eventually national bans for drinking. Which then spawned AL Capone, Charlie Burger, and all the many bootleggers and the very corruptness that those naysayers were speaking of. Are we as a nation handling it any better? We' ve just switched the chemical and the resulting pain is still as deep.
I've thought it might not be totally coincidental that the first saloons opened about the same time the Lost Lake Lumber Co. mill was built. After a long day working at the mill, or delivering logs to it, one or more cold beers might seem like a good idea.
nels, I've read the same accounts but I wonder if the levels of alcoholism were higher or if people were telling dramatic stories to promote their prohibition beliefs.
I once read a comment that was made after prohibition went into effect, and I wish I could remember how it was worded. Basically, the gist of it, was that temperance was not about prohibiting. It was about moderation. Prohibiting created a new set of problems.
I can remember in my early childhood that the WCTU was still in effect in the valley. I think they met about once a month. My grandmother was very shy and other than family oriented get togethers seldom went places, but always had Grandpa drive her over, I think possibly to the Pine Grove Grange to go to WCTU.
Lanora Frick, in the 300 block of Prospect Street, hosted WCTU meetings at her house. My dad, Harold Parsons, once backed out of his driveway into one of the guests' car parked at the Fricks' curb. He had to face the entire group in their living room while apologizing to the car's owner and exchanging insurance information. He sadly told my mother, “I bet they thought I was just another drunk driver.”